Chelsea hoped Fernando Torres would assume the striker role when they signed him in 2011 and hold it down for several years. Instead, the Spanish forward struggled to maintain top form, leaving a major void in the attack. Diego Costa is the latest addition brought in to solve the problem.
Costa is coming off a breakout season with Atletico Madrid that saw him score 27 goals in 35 La Liga appearances. He also tallied eight goals in nine Champions League matches, showing the domestic goals were certainly not a fluke.
The biggest difference for the 25-year-old Spanish international was finally grasping how to use his immense size and strength to create chances. It allowed him to play a true target forward role for Colchoneros, who ended up winning the league title.
Now he arrives at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea paid a reported £32 million to complete the transfer and signed him to a new five-year contract.
Gone are the days of him bouncing around from club to club on loan looking to turn his raw potential into tangible skill. Following the move he will be expected to produce at an elite level, while bringing an end to the Blues' striker woes.
Whether he fully understands the pressure that comes along with those expectations is unknown. What's clear is that he's looking forward to the opportunity to play for Chelsea, as he explained to the club's official site during an introductory interview:
It was an easy decision for me to make. We have some of the best players in the world, the best manager in the world and it's a club with great history. I want to improve, not only as a player but as an individual, and I believe this is the perfect place for me to do that. That's the reason I chose Chelsea and why I want to defend this shirt.
The side's attack should be potent with Costa in the mix. Putting him up top in front of an attacking midfield trio that will contain three of Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle, Oscar and Willian is good enough on paper to match any Premier League rival.
Costa must be just as bold with Chelsea as he was with Atletico to make it all work, though. One of the biggest problems when Torres arrived was his lack of assertiveness. In turn, his confidence dropped and his first touch started to elude him.
Joining the side during the offseason as opposed to the winter window should help make that transition a little bit easier. Furthermore, Oliver Todd of the Daily Mail reported the striker has been working very closely with Jose Mourinho to understand his role:
At Chelsea's Waldarena training base in Austria, the Chelsea boss has been spending a lot of time with his new £32 million hitman Diego Costa, working to ensure that the 25-year-old knows what his new manager expects of him.
One common issue for Chelsea in recent years has been an inability to create chances when an opponent plays an overly defensive style. That's where Costa will really help by serving as a weapon in the middle of the pitch for deliveries from those aforementioned playmakers.
It's something Torres, Demba Ba, Samuel Eto'o and the host of others who have tried to fill the void weren't able to provide. That's the main reason Chelsea should have renewed confidence in their attacking prowess.
Perhaps the only concern is the fact Costa failed to convert a lot of chances last season. WhoScored.com broke it down:
Diego Costa: No player missed more clear-cut chances in Europe’s top 5 leagues last season than Costa (22)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 4, 2014
It's not all negative, of course. Creating that many extra chances is a positive, but Chelsea will hope he's a little more efficient. Expect him to get fed the ball early and often throughout the opening stages of the campaign with the hope he finds a comfort zone.
Is Costa the answer at striker for Chelsea?
All told, Chelsea have tried numerous different striker options recently and their success rate is low. So the club went out and made a big splash for Costa with the belief he can serve as the player Mourinho has been looking for to lead the attack.
Given his success last season at Atletico and the fact he should fit perfectly alongside an otherwise very talented Chelsea group, his chances of success are high. He should be able to find the net at least 20 times in league play, health willing.
That would be enough for the Blues to finally say they have put their striker issues behind them.